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CS133 Professional Skills

CS133 15 CATS (7.5 ECTS) Terms 1 and 2


Core - CS, CSE, CSBS; Option - Discrete Mathematics

Academic Aims

  • To introduce the key skills required of the computing professional, comprising oral and written communication, operating systems proficiency and awareness of professional aspects of computing practice.
  • The three components of the module address respectively:
    • Introducing students to the concept of professional ethics and behaviour, the place of computers in society and the legal aspects of computing.
    • Developing skills in summarising, quoting, paraphrasing, critical analysis, grammar, referencing, poster construction and oral presentation, and teaching writing as a process approach to composing academic papers.
    • Giving students a basic understanding of operating systems concepts together with a working knowledge of computing systems and associated tools and applications that will subsequently be used.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the module, students should be able to:

  • Understand the relevance for professional computing practice of basic computer law, professional bodies, and the social impact of computer technology.
  • Judge and improve their own writing with increased confidence, utilise appropriate methods for referring and citing sources, and be familiar with the idea of writing as a process.
  • Practice presentation skills and use information systems available via the network at Warwick.
  • Understand basic computing and operating systems concepts, apply them to a networked computer system, and use standard applications and system tools.


The module will cover the following topics:

  • Professional aspects of computing
    • Professional bodies: Historic factors leading to their creation; evolution of UK professions and the roles of typical major bodies; typical structure, organisation and functions of a professional body; constitutional powers and legal status of bodies; statutory and regulatory functions; professional standards and disciplinary powers.
    • Commercial aspects of industry: Structure of Organisations.
    • Management: Project planning and management; Health and Safety legislation.
    • Legal aspects of software: Overview of UK law, Data Protection Act; Copyright Designs and Patents Act; Computer Misuse Act; Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act.
    • Social aspects of computing
  • Communication skills
    • Writing as a process
    • Composing effective paragraphs
    • Paraphrasing and quoting
    • Avoiding plagiarism
    • Writing a summary
    • Writing a critical analysis
    • Decoding topics and titles
    • Grammar
    • Soliciting feedback on writing
    • Writing an abstract or proposal
    • Writing an academic paper
    • Preparing a poster
    • Giving an oral presentation
  • Practical operating systems skills
    • Files and file organisation: directories and file structures, access control and security, file formats.
    • Operating systems: the kernel, shells, window managers, processes
    • Networks: communication tools and protocols, security
    • Command-line interfaces: processes, tools and utilities
    • Comparative operating systems: proprietary and open source alternatives
    • Standard applications: spreadsheets, databases, presentation tools and wordprocessors.


  • Bott F, Professional Issues in Information Technology (2/e), BCS, 2014.
  • Glass G and Ables K, Linux for Programmers and Users, Prentice-Hall, 2006.
  • Joy M, Jarvis S, and Luck M, Introducing UNIX and Linux, Palgrave, 2002.


Assessed exercises (55%), class test (30%), oral presentations (15%)


30 one-hour lectures, 10 seminars and 9 practical sessions